BC faculty & Staff — peacemakers, healers, restorers

The eastern sky, friday morning, was unusually soft given that it was bringing in a scorching hot day of triple digit temperatures. Here is a photo gallery from 5:00 a.m. friday morning to 5:40 a.m.

Softness is what I seem to be seeking these days in every context of my life. So, I enjoyed getting this Dalai Lama quote in a text from a colleague. Yes, we need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers.

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, July 11, 2020 … a great day to be a Renegade

I finally watched the musical Hamilton on Disney Plus yesterday. Whoa! Lin-Manuel Miranda… what a genius! I read Ron Chernow’s Hamilton in preparation to watch the show on stage. Then COVID happened and what a delight it was to be able to watch the original cast with Miranda himself playing Hamilton. Check out this one-minute youtube clip from Hamilton with Aaron Burr performing Room Where it Happens.

A Message About International Students

As someone who came to the United States as an international student, I wanted to take a moment and talk about how important the F1 Student Visa program is for our country’s economic strength and the holistic wellbeing of our world.

The United States is home to some of the best institutions of higher learning, and thousands of people come here every year to take part in groundbreaking research and engage with a diverse range of perspectives. International students are some of our country’s most successful entrepreneurs. Approximately 25 percent of the 91 start-up companies worth more than $1 billion had a founder who came to America as an international student, and international students contribute $41 billion to the economy every year.

Important political leaders from around the world came here to study. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, two former UN secretaries-general, and many world leaders have studied at our universities. This is the best way to build global understanding and fellowship and also to inspire communities around the world on the value of democracy and a free society.

Within the next few weeks, I hope that we can find some common ground to keep our international students in the US while safely preventing the spread of COVID-19.

This issue has really gotten to me so much it has put me in the space of the Hamilton inspired phrase #ImmigrantsWegettheJobDone.

Check out Lin-Manuel Miranda at the White House in 2009 (yes, several years prior to the play premiering off-Broadway) while he was working on the lyrics and music for Hamilton based on Ron Chernow’s book. A key line for me was “Another immigrant coming up from the bottom.” Check it out.

Commencement & Paint the Town Red

Marketing Director Norma Rojas delivers BC swag to help Paint the Town Red

Our 106th Commencement will be broadcast tonight, July 11, at 6 p.m. on KGET Channel 17, or at 7 p.m. on Telemundo Valle Central Channel 13 (with antennae, 17.3). This event will also be live-streamed on social media as well.

I look forward to sharing snippets from this broadcast with you in future blog posts – our team has done a phenomenal job putting together a great show to celebrate our amazing graduates! Thank you Norma Rojas-Mora for leading this work along with Nicky Damania.

This week, we celebrated our Early College graduates from Wasco High School and the Wonderful College Prep Academy. I will be sharing videos from that celebration starting in next week’s blog as well.

Also this week we were very busy delivering yard signs and flags to Paint the Town Red in support of our graduating class of 2020.

On Memorial Hospital Facebook: The sun is shining on the graduating class of 2020! ☀️ We’re excited to congratulate this year’s Bakersfield College graduates! We wish you the best and know your futures will be bright!

Ken Keller, Robin Mangarin-Scott

And here is Adventist Health celebrating the class of 2020

Community Voices

Outgoing BCSGA President Samantha Pullido wrote a piece in the Bakersfield Californian about why Bakersfield College is the best college.

“I want to thank each and every person from BC — from the department assistant who answered all my questions, to each faculty member, each counselor and all the individuals who made sure I was set up for success and on the path to achieving my goals. While I am going to miss my BC family, I know I have been equipped with the skills and educational foundation I will need to succeed on the next step in my journey. Why? Because BC is the best college.”

Thank you for your kind words, Samantha. And I want to wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors at Cal State Berkeley – I look forward to seeing what amazing things you will do during your time there and beyond.


This week, I am sharing three videos from strong women that were part of our June 15 program.

Jennifer Achan, BC Financial Aid Director:

Kimberly Mallory, Medical Administrator:

And this video of Maya Angelou‘s poem “Still I Rise.” Thank you, Valerie Urso, for your work in putting together this wonderful video:

Please visit our Juneteenth website for all the videos from each day of programming, as well as additional information and resources, and testimonials from Bakersfield community members and BC faculty, staff and administration.

Celebrating Corny & Sandi

I wanted to share a few more videos from our retirement celebration for Corny Rodriguez and Sandi Taylor.

Here is my introduction from the event:

And photo roll for Corny Rodriguez:

Photo roll for Sandi Taylor

You can see all the videos from this celebration on the President’s Events website. (Click on “Staff and Faculty Events.”)

Express Enrollment

The Office of Outreach helped approximately 300 students with registering in classes at BC during our express enrollment event on Wednesday. Thank you to Ashlea Ward for helping organize the event, the Marketing team for helping promote the express enrollment on social, and all of the counselors and ed advisors who got our students ready for classes in the fall.

Be Red Cross Ready

The Levan Institute’s series of lectures with the American Red Cross was a huge success this week. The American Red Cross spent three days teaching people in the community some survival essentials for COVID-19, earthquakes, wildfires and extreme heat.

The Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning provides essential courses for all members in the community to enrich their understanding of the world. The Levan Institute course offerings for Fall 2020 will be announced on Sunday, July 19th. For more information, visit the Levan Institute website.

Thank you to the Red Cross and Suzan Pinza of the Levan Institute for putting together these important workshops.

Measure J Update

This week, I was elated to find out that one of the interns working with AECOM on Measure J construction projects is a former BC student.

Bryson Zuspan, a senior at San Jose State studying civil engineering, will be one of two interns helping AECOM on the new Campus Center, Science and Engineering building and other renovation projects. Diana Johnson, a Vice President with AECOM, shared this message from Bryson:

“Before transferring to SJSU, I spent a great deal of time at Bakersfield College figuring the right path for my career. As luck would have it, I have the opportunity to work at AECOM and be a part of a project for my old community college. It feels great to give back to the institution that taught me so much and gave me the resources to become successful in university.”

Thank you to Bryson and AECOM for giving back to the Home of the Renegades!

I also wanted to share these photos that our Astronomy faculty Dr. Nick Strobel took of some of the construction on campus:

Renegade Student Experience

Ramon Carreido, a student worker in the BC Marketing Department, has launched a new podcast offering a student perspective on everything that’s going on at BC. For the first episode of the Renegade Student Experience, Ramon talked to his swim coach Matthew Moon about the swim team’s recruitment process and how they reacted to the season being shortened by COVID-19.

Thank you Ramon and Coach Moon for sitting down to have this conversation. I look forward to more conversations between Ramon and other BC faculty and staff in the future.

Fun Social Media

Our Director of Rural Initiatives and the Delano Center, Abel Guzman, had a nice July 4th holiday with his family:

Dean of Instruction Billie Jo Rice walked the Golden Gate Bridge with her mom. Good job, ladies!

Closing Week

On Monday of Closing Week, we looked back at all of our past Presidential Leadership Award winners:

On Tuesday, we heard from Academic Senate President Steven Holmes:

Also on Tuesday, we shared a message for our students from BC Faculty and Staff:


Please see our Closing Week website for all of the videos from this year’s celebration. You can also see videos from previous year’s closing and opening days on the President’s Events website.


Blake van Uden Headed to New Mexico Highlands University

Blake van Uden from Renegade Men’s Basketball announced this week that he is headed to play basketball and continue his academic career at New Mexico Highlands University located in Las Vegas, NM. Blake played the last two seasons for Coach Rich Hughes, coming all the way from New Zealand to become a Renegade. Blake’s father also played basketball at BC, making the van Uden’s a multi-generational Renegade family. We are excited for Blake and thank him for his contributions to Renegade basketball and our campus this last few years.

Keep Your Zoom Game Updated with New Backgrounds

Elevate your Zoom game on your next video conference call with these official Renegade themed backgrounds! You may also click here to save them to your desktop.

Click Here to learn how to use custom backgrounds on Zoom.

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

July 4, 2020 — Celebrating Independence Day from our homes

Good Morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, July 4th … a great day to be an American … a great day to be a Renegade.

I enjoyed this photo essay in The New York Times of past Independence Days. I think you will as well.

Even though we must alter many of our usual traditions and festivities to maintain social distancing and stay safe this year, I know that we will all find ways to celebrate our great nation this weekend.

Take a moment to ready my blog post from last year: https://sonyachristianblog.com/2019/07/07/fireworks-family-and-fun-happy-4th-of-july/

Class of 2020

Special Televised Commencement to Cap Week of “Painting the Town Red” to Celebrate BC Grads

We are excited to announce the 2020 Special Televised Commencement event this year on KGET and Telemundo, Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 7 p.m. 

We are kicking off a week of celebrations prior to the televised Virtual Commencement Event. To honor our 2020 BC graduates we are “Painting the Town Renegade Red” with yard signs and spirit flags. 

Dr. Nicky Damania showing off a We Are BC Spirit Flag – Order yours today!

Do pick up a 2020 Graduation Yard Sign to proudly display at your home. Yard Signs are free on a first-come-first-served basis to the first 2,000 people. We also have BC Spirit Flags (pictured below), which you can purchase to display on your car or home windows to show off your BC Spirit!

Order BC Spirit Flags or to request your free 2020 Graduation Yard Sign with the Office of Student Life Commencement Swag Order Form. You can pick up your items in-person or home delivery is available for a small charge. All proceeds go to fund the BCSGA Scholarship fund. 

As a reminder, be sure to tell your family, friends, and neighbors to tune in on Saturday, July 11 at 7 p.m. to KGET Channel 17 or Telemundo Valle Central Channel 13 (or with antennae, 17.3). This event will also be live-streamed on the Bakersfield College Facebook page.

Honoring BC legends

On Tuesday, we honored two of our Bakersfield College legends as they start their retirements: Dean Cornelio Rodriguez and Athletic Director Sandi Taylor.

The hour-long celebration featured many videos from colleagues and friends. I will showcase them in weekly blog posts over the next few weeks.

Corny and Sandi also got the chance to share some of their memories from their time at Bakersfield College. Thank you to Manny De Los Santos and Brandon Urry for their work in producing these videos:

Corny Rodriguez:

Sandi Taylor:

Outgoing BCSGA President Samantha Pulido also announced a new scholarship:

Videos from the event are posted on the President’s Events page on the BC website (click on “Staff & Faculty Events”).

You can also view the full YouTube playlist.

Virtual Express Enrollment: Become a Renegade in One Day!

Bakersfield College is holding an extended One-Day Virtual Express Enrollment Event for new and returning students on July 8, 2020 from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Counselors and support staff will be available to assist students with their registration process, answer questions and give one-on-one guidance. 

Students are asked to register for the event ahead of time at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/registrationrocks.  For more information, contact Outreach at outreach@bakersfieldcollege.edu or (661) 750-2684.

#LightACandle — A Juneteenth conversation

As many of you know, in light of the recent political demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, Bakersfield College engaged in a series of diverse and important discussions about race and law enforcement around Juneteenth, a day celebrated as the end of slavery in the United States.

I am continuing to share videos from our Juneteenth celebration.

This week, I am focusing on reactions – from Reggie Bolton and Julian West on the Danny Morrison #RealTalk on Race; and from Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Terry and Assistant Chief Joe Mullins. I’m also sharing a look forward – an introduction to the Transformational Policing Model from Tommy Tunson.

#RealTalk on Race with Danny, Julian, and Reggie

BPD Chief Greg Terry & Assistant Chief Joe Mullins

Tommy Tunson on Transformational Policing

Free Immigration Clinics Add Two More Sessions

BC has partnered with the UFW Foundation to provide free Immigration Clinics to BC students, faculty and staff. They are prioritizing DACA renewals at this time, with assistance available for general immigration questions, visa questions and more. 

Starting in July, they’re adding two more clinics to the monthly schedule. The next two sessions are on Tuesday, July 14th, and Friday, July 17th, from 9 AM to 6 PM, via Zoom. Connect with ab540@bakersfieldcollege.edu to sign up.

Levan Institute – “Be Red Cross Ready”

Next week starting Tuesday, July 7 through Thursday, July 9, the Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning is partnering with the American Red Cross on a series of free virtual lectures about health and safety.

Visit the Levan Institute page to register and find out more information about the “Be Red Cross Ready” presentations focused on survival tips for fires, earthquakes, COVID-19 and more.

Community Voices

Norma Rojas, director of marketing and communications, wrote a piece in the Bakersfield Californian about how we must all do our part and have the difficult conversations about race and inequity in order to facilitate real and lasting change.

“While we used to have these conversations in private or within the comfort of our closest circles, we have now been given permission to share the experiences with a wider audience. It is acceptable to discuss the care we must take as professionals, as parents, as community leaders when we walk out the door wanting to embrace our culture, yet understanding that it will make others uncomfortable to do so.”

Fun social media

Kalina Hill, Program Manager, Testing and Placement Center, is staying safe while getting active:

Reference librarian Mindy Wilmot is celebrating her boys:

Our Academic Technology department kept busy with workshops to keep our faculty and staff up to speed:

Closing Week Videos

Continuing the videos from Closing Week in May.

On Thursday of Closing Week, we looked back at the opening of the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center:


Isayas Aris Headed to Nyack College

Isayas Aris from Renegade Men’s Basketball announced this week that he is headed to play basketball at Nyack College this coming year. Isayas played the last season for Coach Rich Hughes and made a tremendous impact on the team in just one year. At the end of the season he was named to the WSC South Honorable Mention Team. Congrats Isayas!

Reggie Bolton Named Interim Dean of Kinesiology/Athletics Director

On Wednesday we announced Reggie Bolton as our new interim Dean of Kinesiology/Athletic Director. Reggie is no stranger to Renegade Athletics having been an assistant football coach for 12 years and kinesiology department chair the last seven years. We are excited to welcome Reggie into this new role and know he will do great things. To read the release on GoGades.com click here: http://gogades.com/general/2019-20/releases/202007010n6w9c

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

The universe is simpler than it appears

Got back late last night, transitioning from 64 degrees at Marina Del Rey to 90 degrees here in Bakersfield at 10:30 p.m. Neo immediately rushed to the backyard, something he misses by the beach, and I stood in the backyard with him, enjoying the warm night air …. it was good to be back home.

Good Morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, June 27…a great day to be a Renegade.

After my early walk today, here I am on the back porch, blogging before the morning temperatures soar into the nineties. I was struck by the NYTimes piece by Bob Henderson about Angelo Bassi, a theoretical physicist who is attempting to frame the workings of the universe in a more fundamental way than quantum mechanics. “The idea that the universe is simpler than it appears is supported by the way advances in physics, from Newton’s to Einstein’s and beyond, have accounted for more and more phenomena with fewer and fewer equations. ” Thought you might enjoy it too https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/25/magazine/angelo-bassi-quantum-mechanic.html?smid=tw-share


KBAK will be airing highlights from our Juneteenth programming in collaboration with Danny Morrison. The show will air Sunday at 4 pm – be sure to tune in!

Thank you Danny for partnering with BC. We say it all in this video…

Every week, I will feature some of the videos from the two-week long #LightACandle event. Let’s hear from three congressman.

BC Jazz Combos: The Quarantine Sessions

The BC Jazz Studies program recently released a digital album featuring eight tracks created by students collaborating online during the campus shutdown.

Kris Tiner, Director of Jazz Studies, described the process.

“In March of 2020, as the global pandemic became a reality and stay-at-home orders went into effect, we found ourselves unable to meet in person to rehearse or hold class as usual. All of our scheduled concerts, including our annual Jazz Day festival, were eventually cancelled. Classes continued to meet online using Zoom, but the limitations of that platform for playing together live were immediately obvious. Doing anything with the music we had been rehearsing for eight weeks was suddenly out of the question. Instead, we began working on these digital collaborations. We used Zoom to chat and share ideas, Google Drive to share charts and files, cell phones and any home recording technology we could get our hands on to capture music that reflected the ups and downs of these strange days we were going through together. Our goal was to let the times guide our creativity, and the result is this album. Please enjoy, and purchase a copy if you have the means. All proceeds benefit the BC Jazz Studies program.”

Listen and download at https://bcjazzstudies.bandcamp.com.

Dr. Fauci addresses COVID-19 spike

On Friday, the nation once again heard from Dr. Anthony Fauci, who provided an important update on the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said, “You have an individual responsibility to yourself. But you have a societal responsibility. Because if we want to end this outbreak … we’ve got to realize that we are part of the process.”

“A risk for you is not just isolated to you.”

As cases are again increasing through many parts of the country, California included, it is more important than ever that we each do our part to keep ourselves and each other safe. We must continue social distancing, we must continue to wear our masks, and we must continue to take care of one another.

Dr. Fauci’s urgent message made this post shared by Cindy Collier even more poignant:

Celebrating our Transfer Graduates

We are proud of the following graduates who have recently accepted admission offers from across the nation, and we have created a Transfer Celebration website to share their photos and future plans.

Students may submit their information to be included through August 1, 2020.

This week, I’d like to highlight two of our outstanding transfer students, Leonela Aguilar and Gabriel Diaz.

Spotted in the Community

Jay Tamsi and Mike Turnipseed get Back to Business

Michael Turnipseed, Kern Tax Executive Director, brought Jay Tamsi, CEO of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, on his Conversations that Matter video series to discuss discuss how the Chamber helps boost the local economy.

They also discussed the challenges facing local small business during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the Chamber is helping address those issues.

You can check out the video online.

A Deeper Dive with Romeo Agbalog and Keith Wolaridge

Check out this podcast with Romeo Agbalog, from Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government, and Keith Wolaridge, Trustee with the Panama Buena Vista Union School District.

Fun Social Media

Andrea Thorson, one of our Deans of Instruction, welcomed a new member to her family this week:

“This is Pepper Ann(a) – James is still deciding between Ann and Anna. We are so excited! She is a calm little labradoodle.

“Her name, based on a coin toss, was supposed to be Mimsy. However, upon getting her home, we realized the names “Mimsy” and “Macy” were too close and caused confusion. I’m glad because I like “Pepper” best, but James didn’t love it, so he picks the middle name.”

BC Reference Librarian Sondra Keckley celebrated her 20th wedding anniversary this week.

Her husband had put bouquets of flowers throughout their house as a thoughtful surprise.

“I came home from running errands to the sweetest surprise for our 20th anniversary! The roses and sign would be an awesome gift alone, but then I saw another bouquet of flowers in the family room, and before I knew it I was pleasantly surprised in just about every room!! It felt like a scavenger hunt looking to see where else they might be.”

Congratulations to Sondra and Kurt!

Gloria Dumler from our English department shared this post about an article fellow English professor Paula Parks sent out to the department:

You can check out the article, “Turns Out You Can Build Community in a Zoom Classroom” from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

KCCD leadership — #staysafe #wearmasks

Tom Burke, Sonya Christian, Claudia Habib, Jill Board
Some photos from my trip to the marina
Neo heading to the Marina

Closing Week Videos

On Tuesday of Closing Week, Todd Coston continued his Ringmaster role in his backyard with his tiger:

Our Public Safety Meta major Pathway team earned a President’s Leadership Award:

On Thursday, we shared a message about the BC Emergency Student Fund:


Celebrating 48 Years of Title IX

On June 23, 1972, Title IX was passed into law stating: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

This June 23 marked 48 years since the beginning of Title IX. This played a huge role for women in many areas in allowing opportunities they previously did not have, and one of the more visible areas came in athletics participation.

While we observe this anniversary and recognize those original trailblazers, we also know that work of equity is a continual and never-ending process.

Memorial Stadium Construction Update

Progress continues this summer with ongoing renovation projects at our beautiful Memorial Stadium. Workers recently finished removing all of the old lights as they prepare to install the new light fixtures. Also happening is the construction of the new HD video scoreboard as well as renovation of restrooms and concessions areas. We can’t wait to see her when all the work is complete!

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

June 2020 — A month to remember

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Woke up early this morning with a feeling of spaciousness…. a feeling that has been elusive for the last several months, with the last two weeks being especially intense. Thought I would start my Saturday blogging with a fun and sweet Facebook video post by our very own Joe Saldivar.

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, June 20, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade

Happy Father’s Day all.


It was another very active week at Bakersfield College as we launched a full week of conversations leading up to June 19 – or “Juneteenth.”  I will continue to upload a few videos from the program each week until we cycle through all of the contributions.

June 15: #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation Part I

On Monday we launched our first program of the week at 6pm.  If you missed it, you can still watch the program in full on Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook page HERE.

Here is my video message introduction, pulled from my letter to the campus 6 days following George Floyd’s death. Pump up the volume as you read the words and listen to the music of this 3:48-minute video. The song is performed by Caley Mayhall in The Journey of Harriet Tubman composed by Dr. Ron Kean and conducted by Dr. Jen Garrett.

Congressman and House Republican Leader, Kevin McCarthy noted the work of Bakersfield College and the Bakersfield Police Department in strengthening the curriculum of the Police Academy to include topics of micro aggression, racial bias, and community policing.

Congressman TJ Cox recalled the hurt he has felt in his life when he has experienced racism, and called upon us to stand against injustice.

Congressman and House Majority Whip, James Clyburn gave a brief history of Juneteenth and emphasized that communication is as much what we seek to understand as it is about what we are saying.

Thank you, Congressman Cox, for securing a video message from Congressman Clyburn to BC.

June 16: #RealTalk on Race in America with Generation Z

On Tuesday night, Bakersfield College hosted our third #RealTalk on Race in America – this time with Generation Z.  Moderator Danny Morrison spent an hour and a half with three young leaders in our Black community: Caleb (age 13), Amaya (age 19), and JaNell (age 20).  Amaya and JaNell are BC students.

Listening in to these three teens talk about how racism has not only affected them personally, but the ways they have engaged personally to be a part of the change was both heartbreaking and inspiring.  It is a must-listen.  You can watch the full stream on Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook page HERE.

June 17: #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation Part II

On Wednesday, we held part II of the celebration.  If you missed it, you can still watch the program in full on Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook page HERE.

Supervisor Leticia Perez talked about the ways in which she has witnessed unintentional, yet deeply rooted implicit biases affect sentencing, jury selection, and other elements of the criminal justice system.

Lyle Martin, retired Chief of Police of the Bakersfield Police Department and Chief District Attorney Investigator of Kern County, shared his rules to live by.

Assemblymember Vince Fong, acknowledged the hurt our community is experiencing and called upon all to make an ongoing commitment to do, show, and experience tolerance, acceptance, and love daily.

June 18: #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation Part III

On Thursday, we held part III of the celebration.  If you missed it, you can still watch the program in full on Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook page HERE.

Bakersfield City Councilman Andrae Gonzales made a call to action for everyone to take a seat at the table and make their voices heard.  He encouraged us to attend city council meetings, make comments at public forums, and engage fully in the path forward.

Dee Slade, Executive Director of the African American Network of Kern County reflected upon her decades long fight for justice in Kern, disappointed but hopeful in our current march for basic freedoms – to be seen and to be heard. 

Assemblymember Rudy Salas proudly shared that the assembly recently passed the Assembly Constitutional Amendment “ACA-5” to reinstate affirmative action in California colleges and government agencies, a step closer to it reaching the ballot in November.

June 19: #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation Part IV

After a very full week of difficult conversations, it was nice to take a moment and celebrate the significance of Juneteenth with local artists from our community.  You can view the full program HERE.

Here is a list of artists who performed on Friday night:

  • Jerome Wheeler (Song: “Keep Praying”)
  • JaNell Gore, BC student (Spoken Word)
  • Dat Krew (Dance Routine)
  • Charles Spotwood (Praise Dance/Mime)
  • Jovon Dangerfield (Song: “Resilient”)
  • Christopher Anderson (Spoken Word)
  • Jehdiah Woodrow (Song: “A Change is Gonna Come”)
  • Charles Spotwood (Praise Dance/Mime)
  • Trendsetter 003 (Rap Song)
  • Andreu “Dance Fever” Jones (Interpretive Dance – Anthony Hamilton)
  • Mike Jenkins (Gospel Song)

Bakersfield College prepared a brief program in which we called together key partners to make commitments to our community on how they will be a part of the change. 

Bakersfield College also unveiled our four renewed commitments to racial equity:

Over the summer and into the fall, our Equal Opportunity & Diversity Advisory Council (EODAC) will lead our campus in developing our institutional, departmental/committee level, and individual commitments to racial equity.  Thank you to EODAC chairs Vikki Coffee, Bryan Hirayama, and Corny Rodriguez for your leadership.

For a full overview of BC’s conversation around Juneteenth, visit the #LightACandle website. We will also be posting all our videos from the week on this website.

Juneteenth in the News

Two of our Juneteenth planning team members authored Community Voices pieces in The Bakersfield Californian this week. 

Dr. Paula Parks, English faculty and Coordinator of the Umoja Community wrote about her experiences as a Black woman and the ways in which racism affects her students still today. Read it HERE.

My Umoja students also tell me about being followed around stores while they shop. More than one student has been late to class or absent because he/she was hassled by police. One student told of working outside a large store, being paid to collect survey results. A white woman accused him of hitting her. Police were called, and my student was cuffed and made to sit on the curb while they fetched the security camera footage that showed that he didn’t touch her. That incident left my student too upset and traumatized to go to BC that day.

Steven Watkin, Executive Director of Outreach & Early College detailed the commitments BC is exploring through the Juneteenth dialogue. Read it HERE.

BC has a longstanding and clearly-enacted commitment to racial equity that can be seen in our daily operations. We’ve established a team of individuals committed to the success of each and every one of our African American students. It is our endeavor to support our students academically while creating opportunities for community engagement.

Our local news stations had excellent coverage of the program. Here are a few to check out:

  1. KBAK interviewed Danny Morrison on June 15 about the week’s events HERE.
  2. Ema Sasic, and The Bakersfield Californian covered our June 15 program.  Check it out HERE.
  3. Steve Watkin joined KGET for a Sunrise Interview to discuss the significance of Juneteenth.  Check out his interview HERE.

Thank you to my core team who pulled this together

Thank you Jennifer Achan, Dr. Tommy Tunson, and Dr. Paula Parks

Thank you Danny Morrison

Thank you Steven Watkin

Fun Social Media

I loved this tweet from the Bakersfield Californian’s Ema Sasic. Please check out the Buzzfeed article showing fairy tale princesses reimagined as Black girls. These photos are powerful and stunning.

Did you see our EOPS department had a drive-through to pass out graduation regalia to their students? It is wonderful to see how our faculty and staff have adapted to the times and continued to serve our students in safe and creative new ways.

Outgoing BCSGA President Samantha Pulido shared her excitement about starting the STARS Program at UC San Diego. I am so proud of this accomplished young lady, and can’t wait to see what else the future holds for her. Best of luck, Samantha!

Billie Jo Rice updated her Facebook profile image. And I loved the new picture.

Amazon Day

Amazon was kind enough to partner up with our Career Education team for its first virtual recruitment event on Wednesday. Amazon representatives turned to Bakersfield College to help them hire more than 3,000 new employees at the Amazon fulfillment center being constructed in Bakersfield. KERO interviewed Carlos Medina in an article promoting this week’s sessions, and John Cox of the Bakersfield Californian wrote a preview for the event as well. We still have two more Amazon Day Zoom sessions available for next Wednesday, June 24 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., so register now to find out more information and participate.

Parent Info Night

We hosted two virtual parent info nights, one in English on Tuesday and another in Spanish on Thursday, to let parents know all of the opportunities available to their children through Bakersfield College. I’d like to thank all of the organizers for putting together this event.

Classes are available right now for the summer and fall semesters. Visit the BC Class Schedule page to see all of our availabilities and start your education today!

New America Brief on Bachelor’s Degree Programs at Community Colleges

A brief published in June by the think tank New America proposes that states could make higher education more attainable by offering bachelor’s degrees at community colleges.

Diverse Education reporter Sara Weissman summarized the brief and interviewed co-authors Ivy Love and Iris Palmer. The brief studies baccalaureate programs at US community colleges dating back to the first four-year degrees offered in Florida in 2001.

“Our research has shown that [four-year programs at community colleges] are for the most part complementary and they don’t end up enrolling the same students as four-year institutions,” Palmer said. “What they end up doing is expanding opportunity for a more diverse set of students.”

You can read the full report, titled “Community College Baccalaureate Programs: A State Policy Framework”, on the New America website.


Renegade Athletics Finishes 2019-2020 With #17 Finish in CCCAA NATYCAA Cup Standings

We are pleased to hear that Renegade Athletics has finished the 2019-2020 academic year tied with Hartnell College at #17 in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) and National Association of Two Year College Athletic Administrators (NATYCAA) Cup Standings. Out of all SoCal schools, the Renegades finished 12th. The ranking moves them up 2 spots from the 2018-19 finish of #19. In 2017-18 they finished tied for #30, and the year before that (2016-17) ended in a tie for #50.

The 2019-20 athletics year will forever be remembered for the shutdown of sports in March 2020 due to COVID-19, however prior to the closure Renegade Athletics captured Western State Conference Championships in Men’s Soccer (first in program history) and Volleyball (4th consecutive) and a Southern California Wrestling Alliance (SCWA) title in Wrestling (3rd title in four years) These three titles brings the total number of team conference championships in Renegade Athletics history to 184. In addition in 2019-2020, four individual Renegade conference championships were added, all in Wrestling: Alexis Becerra (141 lb.), Scott Hokit (174 lb.), Jordan Annis (184 lb.) and Ricardo Gonzalez (197 lb.).

Closing Week Videos

As we logged on Wednesday, we were treated to some photos from the year:

CSEA President Tina Johnson shared an update for our classified employees:

And Jennifer Johnson received a President’s Leadership Award:

Sonya Christian

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

June – A Historic Month. June 12, 1967 Loving v Virginia, June 19, 1865 Black Independence Day

History buffs celebrate June 12th as the “Day of Loving” commemorating the landmark 1967 Loving v. Virginia case under Chief Justice Earl Warren. In a unanimous decision, the Court held that distinctions based on race were generally “odious to a free people” and were subject to “the most rigid scrutiny” under the Equal Protection Clause.”  https://www.oyez.org/cases/1966/395

“LIFE photographer Grey Villet met the Lovings (Mildred and Richard) in 1965, before the landmark case went to trial, when he was sent on assignment to document the day-to-day world of the couple. He captured a simple story, a love story. He took photos of the Lovings watching TV together, playing with their kids and kissing. The photos ran in a 1966 issue, providing a rare look into the private lives of a couple that would have such a lasting impact on the laws of the United States.” Read more … https://www.history.com/news/mildred-and-richard-the-love-story-that-changed-america

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, June 13, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade

Juneteenth Celebration

We had another active week at the Virtual Home of the Renegades as we continue our conversation and celebration leading into Juneteenth.

On Wednesday, Bakersfield College invited the Bakersfield Police Department to sit down for a live conversation with Danny Morrison.  As the national dialogue on police training is more prominent than ever, BPD spoke about their partnership with Bakersfield College and commitment to high quality training for Kern’s first responders.  Chief Greg Terry and Assistant Chief Joe Mullins referenced our current “Principled Policing” training and the value of the Transformational Policing Model in advancing trust between the police department and public. 

If you missed it, you can still check out the stream here: https://www.facebook.com/dannymoshow/videos/3250895348300092/

Thank you to Dr. Tommy Tunson, BC’s Director of Public Safety Training, for bringing the Transformational Policing Model to BC and working to scale it across the state.  Check out his introduction to the panel discussion below. 

On Thursday evening, the Bakersfield Unity Rally was held at St. Peter Ministries in East Bakersfield. Dozens gathered to hear from political leaders, community activists, and students on the power of listening.

The theme of the evening was “if you see something, say something.”

This important community dialogue is just one of the many that have taken place over the last two weeks.  The diversity of speakers reflected the diversity of our community. It also highlighted the unity that exists and the willingness to continue to engage in dialogue and find solutions to various issues we can no longer be silent about, including law enforcement reform, implicit bias, and racism within Kern County.

As Traco Matthews reminded us, “This shouldn’t just be the burden of black people (to work towards equality),” he said. “It should be a mandate for every citizen of the United States of America.”


Bakersfield is so lucky to have NaTesha “T” Johnson, Michael Bowers, Traco Matthews, and other visionary leaders who are leading the way toward healing in our community.

I was at an all-day accreditation commission meeting and therefore was not able to attend in person — here is a video message that I did for the event.

Message from President Sonya Christian for the Unity in Community Peace Rally

The message of listening as a form of healing and showing respect for one another to promote building a better community is part of the call to action Bakersfield College is engaging in through its Juneteenth Conversations and Celebrations.

Thank you to our community members who are promoting BC’s #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation.  Check out their videos:

Next week, Bakersfield College has a full slate of virtual activities planned to commemorate Juneteenth, marking the end of slavery in the United States.  Mark your calendars and tune in each evening at 6:00 p.m. to join us live as we hear from local, statewide, and national leaders, as well as our own brothers and sisters right here in Kern County as we honor the moment and #LightACandle to illuminate the pathforward

Be sure to keep up with the events on our website and use our hashtag to keep the online conversation going.

Thank you NaTesha T Johnson for always being a friend to BC!

NaTesha T Johnson is a community leader who embodies unity and community.  When called to serve on Boards, T is at the table.  When asked to support a community event, T is at the table.  When asked to help inspire and grow the next generation of community leaders, T is at the table.  When BC calls to ask for support and engagement, T is at the table.  A former Renegade cheerleader, T continues to be committed to Bakersfield College.  (T, thank you for your support of BC’s#LightACandle A Juneteenth Conversation.  Your enthusiasm, bright spirit, and honest insights will help open the dialogue on what it means to be black in the workplace. )

Join us June 15-19 to hear her testimonial.

Monday, June 15, 6pm: Tune in to Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook for a livestream presentation.  Among others you can expect to hear from: Congressman and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Congressman TJ Cox, Congressman and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.

Tuesday, June 16, 6pm: Bakersfield College hosts a third #RealTalk on Race in America Discussion with moderator Danny Morrison.  This week, you’ll hear from the youth leading the movement right here in Kern County.  The panelists include: Caleb Warren, 13; Ja’Nell Gore, 20; and Amaya Williams, 19. Ja’Nell is a BC student who writes for South Kern Sol, and Amaya is a BC student athlete in track & field. I am so proud of our BC students who will be speaking up, and I hope you will tune in to support them.

Wednesday, June 17, 6pm: Tune in to Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook for a livestream presentation.  Among others, you can expect to hear from: Supervisor Leticia Perez, Assemblymember Vince Fong, and Kern County Chief District Attorney Investigator Lyle Martin.

Thursday, June 18, 6pm: Tune in to Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook for a livestream presentation.  Among others, you’ll hear from Assemblymember Rudy Salas, and African American Network of Kern County Director Dee Slade.

Friday, June 19, 7-9pm: Tune in to Danny Morrison Media and KBAK’s social media for a live celebration of Juneteenth with local artists and musicians.  

  • 7-7:30pm: Welcome from emcee Danny Morrison with live music
  • 7:30pm: Tune in for our formal program to hear from Bakersfield College, the Bakersfield Police Department, the Kern County District Attorney, and more.
  • 8-9pm: End your week with live music and a celebration of Black liberation

Sunday, June 28, 4-5pm: Save the date and plan to tune in to KBAK for our final program to wrap up Bakersfield College’s #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation program.  

BC faculty on the world stage

Prof. Jeff Newby was invited to address a Global Awareness class at Kansai University in Osaka, Japan. Elvita Sensei, a faculty member at Kansai, asked Jeff to speak on his experiences with COVID-19 in the US/California/Bakersfield and the history of pandemics in general. After a brief introduction, he explained how COVID-19 follows very similar patterns to pandemics of the past, and briefly talked about some of the world’s most disastrous diseases – Bubonic Plague, Influenza, and the Pandemic Spanish Flu of 1918. The focus of his lecture (which went from 10:50 pm – 12:00 am due to the time difference lol), however, was on why COVID is affecting the U.S. so much worse than Japan. Her students seemed particularly interested in this. 

The discussion covered a variety of factors, but the conversation steered toward culture as a huge contributing factor. There were many giggles when he explained that his preferred method of greeting family and friends was a big hug – an obvious no-no in the time of COVID. It was a good, important reminder that no matter where one might be on the planet, we are truly all in this together: one global community in desperate need of empathy and understanding.

BC Hosting Amazon Day

Amazon will be hiring full-time/part-time associates in Bakersfield. They plan to fill upwards of three thousand positions by August 2020 in Bakersfield!

Bakersfield College’s Student Employment Office has partnered with Amazon to host a virtual series promoting Amazons upcoming hiring recruitment. Representatives from Amazon will provide step-by-step information regarding the application, requirements, expectations and benefits for our students and the community.

Pre-registration is required and seats are limited to 500 per session. There will be 4 sessions in June on the 17th and 24th. Links to the webinar will be sent via email to all registered attendees only. To register, please fill out the Amazon Day Pre-registration form.

You can also learn more about this event through KGET and 23ABC‘s coverage.

Online Teaching Certificate offered

BC is excited to announce the launch of the Certificate in Online Teaching.

The program starts with the first course EDUC B30 – introduction to online learning environments. This course is intended for current and future educators as well as anyone interested in online teaching and instruction.

For more, visit https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/onlineteaching.

Parent Info Night

Join Bakersfield College for Parent Info Night! A time for parents of potential Renegades to learn more about Bakersfield College, resources, financial aid, and ways to support your students as they embark on their next educational chapters.

Sessions will be held on June 16 (English) and June 18 (Spanish). Both sessions are from 6-7 pm.

Register online for the English or Spanish session.

Renegade Pantry

BC’s Office of Student Life continues to provide food, hygiene products, and clothes items through the Renegade Drive-Thru Pantry! Students can sign up online or have a question? Email thepantry@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

Closing Week Videos

The Project HireUP team received one of the President’s Leadership Awards:

We took a break on Thursday to stretch and enjoy some photos from the past year:

We shared this video message from the Kern Promise team:


CCCAA Board of Directors Adopts Athletics Plan for 2020-21

Last Friday, the California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) Board of Directors unanimously approved a three-part plan to allow the state’s community colleges a return to intercollegiate athletics for the 2020-21 academic year while being directed by health guidelines from the state of California. 

To read the official release from the CCCAA click here: https://www.cccaasports.org/about/Board_adopts_athletics_plan

To read the article written by Clay Cunningham in the Californian click here: https://www.bakersfield.com/sports/college/cccaa-moves-forward-with-fall-sports-plan-expects-final-decision-by-july-17/article_07101556-a776-11ea-85eb-43557ba4722d.html

Memorial Stadium at Dusk

Check out this shot of Memorial Stadium on a clear evening this last week at dusk taken by Brandon Urry. We are all eagerly waiting for a return of all sports – including Renegade Football!

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever